Friday, February 22, 2013

Favorite Quote Friday (Time)

“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.” ~ Margaret Bonnano

I don’t generally like to look at the long haul or obsess over what my life will be like five, ten, twenty years from now. Because today is all that exists. I take my life one day and one heartbeat at a time. Thinking too far ahead or trying to picture where I’ll be in the future feels strange and wrong to me. And things never really turn out exactly the way we expect them to anyway.  

So I don’t see the point in thinking too much about the future when we have today sitting before us on a silver platter. You know what I mean? Why go for the doughnut sitting all the way across the room when you can just eat the one you have in your hand? 

Time flies because we waste our doughnuts. We’re always trying to get our hands on another one or figure out how to obtain more more more instead of just enjoying the one we have.

Okay, enough about doughnuts. What I’m saying is that time seems wasted because no one seems to make the most of it. Time is going to fly no matter what you do, but you can choose to look at each day as a fresh beginning and recognize the blessings and opportunities you have sitting right in front of you. And then when you look back on all that time that has flown by, you’ll look back on it with a bittersweet smile on your heart instead of with remorse or regret. 

Don’t overlook the simple things that bring you joy and excitement on a day to day basis.

Like waking up next to the love of your life.
Or smelling freshly brewed coffee.
Or being surrounded by nature (or pretty tall buildings if you’re a city dweller).
Or getting a compliment from someone you admire.
Or hearing wonderful news.
Or laughing from the core of your being.
Or hearing someone you love laugh from the core of their being.  
Or being healthy.
Or being intelligent.
Or being capable.  
Or crossing something off your goal sheet.
Or adding something new to your goal sheet.
Or having an epiphany that immediately puts your arse in gear.
Or trying something new and fun for the first time.
Or reading a good book whilst enjoying a bowl of your favorite ice cream.
Or being greeted by unconditionally loving pets as soon as you walk through the door. 
Or slipping between warm, comfortable sheets after a long day.

Time is fragile. We seem to have so much of it, yet we have so little. This can be an upsetting and overwhelming thought if we sit in one place and think about it too much or dwell on all the time we feel we've wasted. But obsessing over the past is just as bad as obsessing over the future.

Instead, look around you. What can you appreciate today? What can you do right now?

I hope you live happily ever after today. 

<3 Madison

I hope you guys enjoyed this little blog series! Thanks for reading. :-) 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Taking time to waste time

I think it's mandatory to step back and just do nothing on a regular (or at least semi-regular) basis. As we speak, I am sitting here eating a bowl of chips, making a list of new songs I want to put on my iPod, and reading Tiny Buddha. (But not all at the same time.) And as I sit here munching on chips and listing songs and reading (and blogging), I am using quite a bit of willpower to NOT send in a finished article/check my email in order to avoid the risk of potentially getting sucked into a new pile of work. Right now, you're probably either thinking, "What a lazy, irresponsible slug" or "Good for you!" I've admittedly thought both of those things within the past fifteen minutes.

I mentally argue with myself a lot. It's like there are two different Madisons inside my head trying to influence me at all times. One of the Madisons is nice and rational. The other one is kind of mean and peer pressure-y.

The most recent internal conversation between the two Madisons went something like this:

Madison 1: Stop being so unproductive! Send in your new article. It's finished and ready to go. You have no excuse to stuff your face with chips and read blog posts and make a list of songs. If you open your email to find new assignments, deal with it. Welcome to the real world.

Madison 2: Who cares if you take a little time to yourself? You've been working your @$$ off. Give yourself a break. You've earned one.

And I think I've decided to listen to the second Madison today, which is actually kind of rare. I have been working pretty hard this past week---harder than I normally do. I miss my "me" time. I miss remembering what it's like to not be too busy or stressed out. I miss making it a priority in my life to just "be" every once in awhile.

So that's what I'm doing. I'm not suggesting that we all drop our responsibilities or whatever. I'm just saying that it's good to honor your need for "me" time. It's good to give yourself permission to do nothing of particular importance. I promise you the world will not come crashing to an end if you're not busy.

I will check my email tomorrow.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. xx

<3 Madison


Friday, February 15, 2013

Favorite Quote Friday (Perspective)

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

My general personal perspective has gone from blurry to stubborn to open-minded over the past few years.

By my general personal perspective, I mean my individual views on life, society and other people.

Let’s explore each phase and how I ultimately reached a state of open-mindedness.

My blurry perspective phase: This could also be referred to as my “narrow” perspective phase. I used to think life was a straight line and that there was only one way to live it. I believed that you had to be really lucky, special, rich, attractive, confident and likable to go any other way. I didn’t believe in following big dreams or exploring nontraditional paths. I was raised around the belief that life should go as follows in this exact order: Go to school (Elementary school, middle school and high school) – Get a minimum wage job and driver’s license at 16 – Immediately proceed to college after graduating from high school at 18 – Land a traditional desk job/career – Buy a fancy apartment or house – Get married – Have children – Work, work, work, pay bills, pay bills, pay bills – Get old and retire – Die.

It looked something like that. I literally thought this was how life was supposed to work. At sixteen, I needed my license and a minimum wage job. After high school, I needed to go to college and major in something that didn’t interest me at all. After college, I needed to buy a fancy apartment or house and start my uninteresting career. And so on and so forth…

Welp, none of that happened when it was “supposed” to. At the time, this sent me into a spiraling panic of “Oh no! It’s not supposed to be this way! I’m not living my life the same way as everyone else! I’m a failure!!!!”

Looking back, this was a blessing in disguise that saved me from wandering down the wrong path. But at the time, it seemed like a tragedy.

Basically, I thought there were “rules” in life and that I wasn’t following those rules. That’s why I call this perspective the blurry perspective. I didn’t think for myself. I didn’t follow my heart. I just blindly and mindlessly went along with what the rest of society seemed to be doing and put all of my precious time and energy into trying to please others. Yuck.

Okay, let’s move on to the next phase…

My stubborn perspective phase: Once I epically realized that life doesn’t come with a rulebook and that I could do “whatever the hell I wanted,” I got kind of prideful and obnoxious about it. “Screw college! Screw real jobs! This is my life, and I am going to do with it what I will!”

I distanced myself from friends who attended college or had real jobs because I thought they wouldn’t possibly understand my nontraditional life decisions. Whenever someone raised an eyebrow after I told them what I was planning on doing with my life, I would immediately label them as judgmental or narrow-minded. 

“I don’t need these narrow-minded people in my life,” I declared to myself. I basically chose to only surround myself with people who were pursuing similar paths as mine. Underneath all this “rebellion” and prideful preaching about breaking away from the rest of the crowd, there was deep insecurity and damaging individualism.

I began to isolate myself. I avoided family gatherings for fear of being judged as the “black sheep” of the bunch. I avoided talking about my dreams and life plans with others. Whenever someone asked me what I was up to, I deflected the conversation as best I could. I concluded that nobody understood me and my dreams and that I was better off being a recluse. So I became one.

As much as I hate to admit it, I sort of looked down on people who seemed to follow the traditional timeline of life. I assumed they were miserable and weak. I was the one being judgmental, not them.

I just basically got really stubborn and conclusive about my views on life. Whenever someone challenged me or seemed to disagree with me or did things differently than I did, I’d turn my nose up at them or cut them out of my life altogether.

My way or the highway. If you wanted to be in my life, you had to think just like me.

And now the final phase…

My open-minded perspective phase: Although I occasionally still struggle with my blurry perspective phase and my stubborn perspective phase, I think I’ve generally reached a place of open-mindedness by now. I’m more consciously aware of how I choose to perceive certain people and situations.

It’s amazing how much your world can open up and improve when you adopt an open mind and a positive perspective. Everything changes. It really is all about perspective. You find what you look for/focus on.

For example, if you assume that every human who doesn’t do things the way you do is judgmental of you, then every human who doesn’t do things the way you do will seem judgmental of you.

If you assume that the whole world has gone crazy or that everyone is violent or that nobody can be trusted, then only the violent or negative headlines will pop out at you when you look at the Yahoo trending topics or read the newspaper and such. And every person you come into contact with will seem untrustworthy on some level.

My point is that having an open mind has made my life and relationships a whole lot brighter. I no longer marinate in unhealthy thought patterns or assume that my family and friends are super critical of me. I no longer assume that everyone is out to get me. I no longer assume that every human I come into contact with is going to hurt or judge me.

And I no longer believe that life is a straight line or that my way is the best way.

I’m no better than the next person, just like the next person is no better than me. What other people do and think is none of my business. I’ll live my life, and they can live theirs. I have my opinions, they have their opinions. I have my way, they have their way.

It’s fine. If people do or think differently than I do or think, we can still be friends.

Speaking of which, my relationships with family and friends have since improved. I no longer exclude them. I see them as loving, warm people with good intentions, therefore they appear that way. (We get what we look for, remember?)

My general personal perspective is no longer blurry, stiff, narrow or conclusive. It’s open and accepting---towards life, society, other people, etc.

I am totally entitled to my individual views, opinions and life choices. And so is everyone else.

<3 Madison 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

14 ways I will love myself today

Happy love day, friends! Whether you have a special someone in your life or not, I think today is a good day to reflect on how well you've been loving and treating yourself lately.

If you're a frequent reader of mine, you probably know that I sometimes go through brief intervals of hating myself. I've actually gone through a couple this week, including earlier this morning.

It all started when I accused myself of ruining V-Day over something really stupid. Then I beat myself up for accusing myself of ruining V-Day over something really stupid. Then I beat myself up for beating myself up for accusing myself of ruining V-Day over something really stupid.

When I caught myself in this pointless little self-hatred cycle, I almost had to laugh. I'm always mean to myself on the most inconvenient of days.

So today, I want to share 14 ways I will love myself today. (14 ways on the 14th of February...See what I did there?)

Take a look:

1. I will fill my mind with positive, loving thoughts.

2. I will let other people love me.

3. I will smile.

4. I will give myself permission to indulge in candy and red velvet cupcakes.

5. I will listen to my favorite songs and dance around my kitchen.

6. I will take the time to curl up and read a book.

7. I will count my blessings.

8. I will embrace my humanity.

9. I will reassure myself for the one billionth time that it's okay to not always be okay.

10. I will do what I love.

11. I will accept new challenges without complaining about them.

12. I will be patient---with myself, with others, with the universe.

13. I will remember that a bad day does not equal a bad life.

14. I will honor my wants and needs.

How will you love yourself today?

<3 Madison  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Favorite Quote Friday (Love)

“A person’s world is only as big as their heart.” ~ Tanya A. Moore

I was on Pinterest awhile back when I came across a piece of art that really spoke to me. It was a pencil drawn picture of a little man with a huge array of different colors flowing from his chest.

I think different pieces of art mean different things to different people. That’s what fascinates me about it.

For me, when I saw this piece of art, I saw a man who was overflowing with love, gratitude and inner abundance. Colors were exploding from his heart. He was such a little man, but the array of colors was so much larger in comparison. It was like the love and gratitude he had in his heart was greater than his small human frame.

We’re all such tiny, fragile humans existing together on this great big planet full of other tiny, fragile humans. 

We’re so small, and this universe is so massive. When I think about that, it makes me realize just how little truly matters in life. The only things that matter are the things we hold inside our hearts. Our internal worlds. Our souls.

Love and gratitude paint such a beautiful picture. It’s the only picture in my life worth looking at for an extended period of time.  

<3 Madison

p.s. To see the piece of art I described in this post, click here

p.p.s. Would you rather read a post on strength or perspective next Friday? Let me know in the comments! (And if no one comments, I'll just have to flip a coin.) 


Friday, February 1, 2013

Favorite Quote Friday (Dreams)

Hello friends! I've spent months trying to come up with a simple and fun little project for my blog, and I finally decided on something. Every Friday in the month of February, I'm going to share one of my favorite quotes along with some personal and insightful thoughts that I associate with it. Each quote will cover a different universal topic. 

I hope you enjoy!

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~ C. S. Lewis

You know what bothers me? People who are under the impression that there are age limits for doing certain things. Bullshiz.

As long as you’re alive and breathing, you can do whatever you want. If you want to go to college at 60, go to college at 60. If you want to go skydiving at 70, go skydiving at 70. If you want to get married at 80, get married at 80.

Getting older shouldn't hinder your ambition or personal growth. Like I said, as long as you’re alive, you’re allowed to keep living.

Keep setting goals. Keep dreaming. Never use “I’m too old” or “I’m too young” as an excuse to not do what you really want to do.

I am such a huge advocate of following your dreams, regardless of age, gender, nationality, etc.

I am such a huge advocate of doing what makes you happy and fighting for the things you really want in life.

It’s never too late or too early to start.

<3 Madison